Friday, June 20, 2003

In the comments below, Carlton said (regarding my distaste for Hillary Clinton):

"Huh. I know a lot of people who are very excited about her, and feel she's a liberalizing force simply by her presence in politics. I think so too. Universal health care was pretty progressive (albeit poorly executed), don't you think? Also, she antagonizes (to insanity) the forces that I truly despise, so she's an ally. You really can't divorce (so to speak) her political identity from her husband's? They are becoming more distinct all the time. She's apparently a very hard-working senator."

As to the notion of her (or even the both of them) as a liberalizing force: What is liberal about them? Their ruthless anti-union policies? Their bomb-happy foreign policy? Perhaps their unconditional support for the death penalty? Or was it NAFTA? Or was it their WTO/IMF boosterism? Perhaps it was all the new schools they didn't build? Or all the cops they hired? Or the people they put in prison? Or the drug war?

Sheesh! When you put it like that I guess they are pretty liberal! (compared, say, to Dubyah)

As to the "universal health care": This is going to sound crazy, but I don't think they intended to get a real bill passed. Why, otherwise, would they have sought to re-invent the wheel instead of looking around the world (Canada, France, Britain, Germany, Japan, etc) to countries which had variations on univ. health care and take what worked and leave what didn't? I feel the same way about how the gays-in-the-military issue was handled: Bill floated the idea and let the military and the homophobes tear it to pieces and ended up with what we have now, when all he really had to do was issue an order saying that from now on it is not an issue and those who don't like it can seek other employment.

In both cases the Clintons were able to turn back to their constituents and say "Golly! We tried!" without having to actually do a goddamned thing.

As to the lightning rod effect: I've also been mystified by the fervor with which the right hates the Clintons, and it pisses me off in particular because in almost every way the Clinton's policies are more conservative even than Nixon's. What this has done is shift political discourse in the US even further towards the right than it was before and ensured that politicians who are even slightly left of center are demonized even by the Democratic party (witness the DLC versus Dean or the Boston Globe versus Kerry).

What has "Hard-working" Hillary done in the Senate, anyway? Did she vote against Dubyah's various tax cuts? Did she vote against the Patriot Act? Did she try to stop the wars in Afghanistan or Iraq? Has she demanded a 911 inquiry? An Iraq inquiry? ANY inquiry?

What, also, has she done to distance herself from Bill? Nuttin. Anyway, they were (relentlessly) sold to the world as a team, and her book apparently goes to great lengths to maintain that image, so NO: I don't see them as measurably different, in terms of politics.

If you really look at the (still-under-construction) Clinton Legacy, I think you'll find that it has been all about bait and switch.

Can you name anything important Dubyah has done that Hillary or Bill have openly opposed? Doesn't that say something about them?


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